Intimacies by Katie Kitamura [6/10]

Intimacies,” an intriguing spare novel that never wastes a word, chronicles the days of an interpreter at the International Court in The Hague, her refuge after floating years. Here she becomes enmeshed in a loathsome yet fascinating interpretation assignment, translating for a charismatic yet sinister former president accused of genocide. Outside the court, a love affair seems to be suspended and a friendship invites hidden knowledge. The setting and milieu of the court of international justice is portrayed with a detached clinical eye that renders it fascinating, and the author’s open, running style suits the claustrophobic character-centered atmosphere. So, yes, there is much to admire during the reading of Intimacies, but the final impact is dampened by a mild plot that rouses tension but only partially delivers. An enjoyable read that could have aimed for more.

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